A year on from the (Twitter hash-tagged, aptly named) "March 15" 2011 official start of the Syrian round of the wider Arab crisis, Syria's endgame looks nowhere in sight. One year anniversary, and counting.
Marking the one year anniversary of revolution on March 15, 2012 when Syria's uprising lifted off in Damascus, having been conceived in Derra, we find the eye of the storm devastating Homs. The hottest spot of the Syrian conflict today, where massacres have cleansed both people and the city's infrastructure in one regime-destroying swoop, Homs is now synonymous with the Syrian crisis, much like Hama harks back to 1982.
A Lebanese newspaper spoke figuratively but tellingly of the "100 Deir Yassin's" occuring in Syria (Deir Yassin being the infamous and pivatol event for the Palestinian collective conscious). The Homs massacres of late, as such, are as charged an attrocity as the massacre of scores of Palestinian villagers in 1948, then, a harbinger to the foundation of the State of Israel - or for Palestinians uprooted, the Nakba. The crisis of a Syrian people displaced now is growing into something along a similar scale to Iraqi and Palestinian fates.
Sectarian Syria or Splintered World?
Why is the Syrian revolution escalating into something more globally resonating still than the story of its predecessors- the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans?
Some suspect a full-blown sectarian confict to be not far from the Syrian crust, that encases a splintering nation, creaking under the weight of sects- including religious and ethnic minorities. Syria has already been cast into the same mold as Iraq and Lebanon where the seeds to a sectarian conflict once laid grew unchecked until the people drowned in national bloodbaths. "Lebanisation" or a second Iraq have become ominous forecasts. The Sectarian fault-lines of the country after all they say, have long been scored. Syria was hardly a homogenous country of one people. Others dismiss this sectarian bogeyman, preferring to view it all in the prism of a different narrative.
The political show-down between regime and people has expanded into a wider confrontation that looks like a regional and international crisis. This Syrian crisis is the epi-centre of a simmering world war potentially. The Arab world is splintered. Syria's fate is bound up with intra-regional players to a Shia crescent stand-off with the Gulf oil states. Syria herein plays a proxy role or a catalyst for something bigger and more globally resonant. A cold war.
The future for Syria at least upon the anniversary of the Syria Spring looks wide open or tightly sealed and deadlocked. Reviewing a year, in pictures and text.
Will Bashar al Assad see the year out? Will the West deploy a plan of intervention? Please share your opinions and forecasts, or your views looking back on a year of Syrian upheaval.